Hiroshima marks fifth anniversary of deadly mudslides

Hiroshima marked the fifth anniversary on Tuesday of landslides that claimed 77 lives, with residents in the affected areas holding a memorial service to mourn the victims.

The memorial was attended by the bereaved families, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui and others.

Flowers were left at various sites across the western city, including in Asakita and Asaminami wards — two areas hit particularly hard by the August 2014 mudslides.

The governments of Hiroshima city and prefecture oversaw remembrance ceremonies until 2017, and residents have been organizing them since.

Measures by the national and prefectural governments to improve defenses against landslides, such as slope reinforcements and mudslide control dams, have been completed in 96 locations as of the end of July. Work is ongoing in three final areas.

The controls proved effective when torrential rains swept western Japan last year, with the dams able to prevent sediment inflow in Asaminami ward while offsetting other risks.

In an effort spearheaded by the city, new evacuation routes are also currently being established.

In the early hours of Aug. 20, 2014, localized torrential downpours caused a series of landslides in residential areas close to mountains near Hiroshima.

Around 400 houses were either washed away or damaged, and 74 people were killed. An additional three people died later of causes deemed to be related to the disaster.

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